Lawmakers want an audit of the Department of Corrections’ early release program. State Representative Scott Suder says there are clearly problems with early release, including whether it’s saved the state enough money to make it worthwhile. “Where we stand now is that the Department of Corrections is that the Department of Corrections has not saved much money at all,” says Suder. “Even the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has no idea of how much of a savings the early release program has actually achieved.
In August, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that at least three new crimes have been committed by criminals who were out of prison after being released from their sentences early. “Do you want more of the same, do you want more criminals on the street, given the chance that they’re going to reoffend,” asked Suder.
Democrats in the legislature included early release of nonviolent offenders as a provision in the state budget, as a cost saving measure. “We want to know what’s going on, and we want to know why there’s no community notification, why no law enforcement is notified, and why victims are not notified of these offenders going back on the street,” said Suder, who is one of 33 Republican lawmakers requesting a full audit of the controversial program.